18-20 October 2024
International Convention Centre Sydney

How to Avoid Design Regrets in your Renovation

10 questions you should ask when engaging in a building designer

Undertaking a home renovation is an exciting time, but it also requires a lot of foresight, research and planning.

But for many home renovators, rather than enjoying the final result, they are left feeling a little underwhelmed.

Here are the 3 most common design regrets I come across and how to solve them:


For most renovators I come across, the finished look of the home is the most important factor above anything else.

Unfortunately, many renovators are left with a space that doesn’t reflect their initial vision.

Everything you select for your interior design needs careful planning and consideration. The wrong paint colour or bathroom tile can be a costly regret to live with.


Do your homework and get to know your look. Before you even start any construction you need to plan how you want to design the space.

Create a mood board, and not just a Pinterest one. Study magazines and books and search rooms you love. Look at all the different colours you can see and where they are used.

Take notes on all the different materials you are drawn to including the flooring, window coverings, stone benches, lighting, furniture details, and wall colours in order to piece together a look you want to achieve.

Once you have a clear direction on the styles you like you can start the collection process. Gather materials such as paint chips, fabric swatches, stone, timber samples and benchtops in the tones that relate to your Moodboard and look at how they work together.


People often start a renovation with unrealistic expectations of what their budget can get them. A bathroom, for example, is a small space in the scheme of your home but can be one of the most expensive to deliver.

A lot of home renovation shows do make it all look so easy and affordable, but there is a lot of that goes into the cost of the trades, materials and the design process and it’s our job as professionals to make it look easy.


Set a realistic budget. Make sure that you engage specialists in your renovation well before you start spending money.

Whether they be architects, interior designers, a trustworthy builder, etc. These professionals can help make a big-picture plan for your renovation, and often bring things to your attention that you may not have thought of.

Yes, it means a little more upfront cost, but it can save thousands down the track on expensive mistakes because you tried to do it yourself.


There is no logical way to design a space until you determine what the primary function of that space will be. This means that it’s absolutely essential to plan for the people who will be living there and how to make it efficient.

All too often I see a kitchen that has been made too small in a big extension because the family think they need a huge open lounge for the kids to play in. This results in a kitchen that struggles to keep up with the demands of a growing family and also looks out of balance in the space.

Lack of storage is another big regret I often see in peoples homes when they are building. It is important to think about these functions and how you can build them into your design before the construction process.


Invest in an architect, interior designer or draftsman to help you plan your floor layout. Experts do this all the time and can work with you to incorporate clever solutions for your home.

If you have a small inner-city terrace and need to make the best use of your dining area, you can think about incorporating a bench seat with storage drawers or lids to hide toys and clutter. Often there will be small nook areas that pop in drawings. I love these areas as they are an opportunity for hidden linen cupboards or open shelving to display books and objects.

It’s worth spending some money on these elements as they will give you the best return on your investment.


We all make mistakes, and in the renovation world, those mistakes unfortunately cost time and money. For a renovation to run smoothly it’s all about taking the time to research your design and plan it carefully with the help of the experts.

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